Photographs showing that age is no barrier to active living are on free outdoor display on Bristol’s College Green in August, as part of a new drive to persuade older people to make bolder keep fit choices.
Titled NO LIMITS, the exhibition showcases around 35 images by Bristol-based Alex Rotas of international champion athletes aged from 55 to 100+ and of locals participating in health and fitness activities as varied as park run, Tai Chi and walking sports.
The exhibition is mounted by Active Ageing Bristol – a collaboration between Bristol Sport Foundation, St Monica Trust and The Anchor Society – with funding from Bristol Health Partners.
Photographer, writer, public speaker and broadcaster Alex Rotas says she hopes the exhibition challenges widely held misconceptions about what growing older means and encourage fresh thinking on what older people can do to stay fit, healthy, engaged and happy.
“My pictures of elite older athletes are proof that at 60, 70, 80, 90 and above the human body is capable of a lot more than most of us think. But I recognise we can’t all be record-beaters and medal winners. So, I am also exhibiting images of everyday Bristol seniors demonstrating that it's possible to gain physical, mental and social benefits from any level of physical activity.”
The oldest of the champion athletes featured in the NO LIMITS exhibition is Man Kaur, still competing internationally as a shot putter at 103. Another is Bristol’s own Anne Dockery; 71 this year; a member of the GB team which topped the medal table at the most recent World Masters Athletics Championships in Spain and who regularly runs the 1500m in well under seven minutes.
This project stems from the Active People: Promoting Health Life Expectancy (APPHLE) Health Integration Team, who are working together to improve activity levels and healthy living in later life.
The exhibition coincides with this summer’s publication by Active Ageing Bristol of a directory listing Bristol locations where older people can take part in age-friendly physical activities and builds on Bristol’s recent designation as an Age Friendly City by the World Health Organisation.